scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: [BPWeb] Internet Standards (LONG)
DAVID P SMITH (smithd7@SONGS.SCE.COM
Mon Apr 03 2000 - 15:37:52 CDT
I have just reviewed the new guidelines and can't help commenting.
I'm sorry this ran on so long, but some of these guidelines hit close
to home. I should also apologize for the cross post, but I think this
has wide effect and interest.
I am a lowly volunteer trying to maintain a Pack web page. While
there is no mechanism for formal review and approval, I have been in
contact with our Council and District Webmasters. They have looked
our unit web page over and made comments. There are links between our
pack, district and council sites, as well as sites belonging to other
units. Obviously, the direct effect of these guidelines on our page
will depend on how our council implements them, but they do bring up
some interesting questions. The guidelines are aimed at council web
sites, but in a number of areas directly relate to interaction between
the council, district, and unit web sites.
The guidelines discourage the council from recognizing "official" unit
web sites, or linking to them without a disclaimer. Our Pack
Committee directly authorized our web site, with me as webmaster. I
have thought of this as an "official" unit web site. Will our council
now be required to disavow all knowledge of unit web sites to meet
National's expectations? Or be required to take an active role in
review and approval? The first would be distasteful, the second VERY
The guidelines say that "free" web hosting should be avoided due to
banner and pop-up advertising. Our web site and dozens (hundreds???)
of others use these sites as way of having a web presence without
using program money, which is spent on the boy's program. Our
district has pop-up ads on their web site, and even council has things
like graphics pointing out that this is "another site written on a
Mac". Apparently all of this would be outlawed.
The guidelines suggest that councils provide webhosting for districts.
This could be a significant burden for some councils. For our
council it would be prohibitive to provide webhosting to units also.
This could have the effect of driving a lot of useful content from
unit and district sites to "unofficial" and personal sites. Rather
than better control, it could cause the opposite.
The limitations on publications could cause some friction also. The
guidelines say that no publication sold by National Supply, or any
part of it, may be reproduced on the web. For Guide to Safe Scouting
I feel fairly secure, since my site links to the files on the national
web site, but what about the Academic and Sports program? Does
posting the requirements to earn various belt loops on a web site
constitute a portion of an official publication? What about rank
advancement or merit badge requirements?
A "Talent Release" for each and every person in every photo? We do
not post names, contact information, or other personal data. We do
include photos of Pack events. When events are published in the local
newspapers, they do not require a release, and do include names.
I am certain that our council will comply with the guidelines, and
establish expectations for districts and units. We will comply with
council and district policies. It will be a loss if this compliance
means we simply have to fold up our unit web site because we can't use
a "free" service and don't want to divert money from operating the
Just some food for thought from down here on the lower food chain (and
a bit of venting).
David P Smith
Den 1 (Bear) Leader
Pack 99, Lake Elsinore California
It appears that this site was updated today. This is the page
previously said that standards were coming in the Fall.